TIES Weekly Update–April 25, 2017

Bertha Vazquez

The Teacher Institute for Evolutionary Science (TIES) stresses the importance of promoting teacher leadership in the United States. Here at TIES we feel that our fellow teachers are our own best resources. We are looking for high school and college biology educators who are interested in presenting our TIES workshops to middle school science teachers in their state. Our reasoning is that a middle school science teacher will typically cover many areas of science within his/her annual curriculum, including earth science, physical science, and life science. It is virtually impossible to become an expert in all of these areas, at least not initially. The purpose of TIES is to inform interested middle school science teachers about the most up-to-date concepts of natural selection, common ancestry, and diversity in order for them to confidently cover the topics in their classrooms and fulfill their curriculum requirements. In addition to providing science teachers with innovative professional development opportunities, TIES also has ready-to-use online resources for the classroom, including presentation slides, labs, guided reading assignments, and an exam.

  1. TIES received two rejections the week of April 8, one in New Mexico and one in Florida.
  2. We confirmed another local workshop in North Carolina,
  • October 5, 2017: CREW (Regional Professional Development for teachers in Western NC) Cherokee Central Schools, Cherokee, North Carolina, presented by Amanda Clapp
  1. We also sent out three proposals this week. Two proposals are for state conferences next Fall, one in North Carolina and another in Florida. The third proposal is for the national science teachers’ conference in April 2018 in Atlanta (NSTA).
  2. Since the last report, TIES presented workshops in Kansas, California, and Massachusetts.
  3. The editor of the journal, Evolution: Education and Outreach, sent me the reviewers’ notes for my article on middle school evolution standards. I made the necessary revisions and sent it back.
  4. Kenny is taking on the TIES Partnerships project. I feel the needs of this project match Kenny’s strengths nicely. Let’s give it one more go.
  5. TIES Teacher Corps Member Kathryn Green presented the TIES project for us at the annual NARST Conference (National Association for Research in Science Teaching) in San Antonio, TX. NARST is a worldwide organization for improving science teaching and learning through research.
  6. TIES Teacher Corps Member Blake Touchet found a creative way to support TIES at the Baton Rouge March for Science Event. Way to go, Blake!
  1. Representing the Center for Inquiry at the Miami March for Science was great fun. Thankfully, a fellow TIES Teacher Corps Member, Dora Pilz, helped me out at our very busy table. We were approached by hundreds of marchers. The most successful bumper sticker by far was the one about vaccinations. One of my goals was to spread the word about Richard Dawkins’ event here on May 27th. There were 970 tickets left for the Richard Dawkins Event in Miami on May 27th before the march; there were 949 as of this morning. At the march, the Editor in Chief of UMiami Scientifica Magazine came by the CFI table offered to publish the event in his magazine.

    I’ll take the poster we created for the event over to Books and Books today. I’ll bring more brochures about the Dawkins/Barry event to next Saturday’s local People’s Climate March.

  2. Something to think about: I was asked by several people about starting a local CFI chapter.
  3. An article about TIES titled “Helping Teachers Teach Evolution in the United States” is one of the featured articles in the May/June 2017 issue of the Skeptical Inquirer.

Bertha Vazquez

Bertha Vazquez has been teaching middle school science in Miami-Dade County Public Schools for 24 years. She has BA in Biology from the University of Miami and a Master’s in Science Education from Florida International University. A seasoned traveler who has visited all seven continents, she enjoys introducing the world of nature and science to young, eager minds. An educator with National Board Certification, she is the recipient of several national and local honors, including the 2014 Samsung’s $150,000 Solve For Tomorrow Contest and The Charles C. Bartlett National Excellence in Environmental Award in 2009. She was Miami-Dade Science Teacher of the Year in 1997 and 2008 and was one of Florida’s 2015 finalists for the most prestigious science award in the country, The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.